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Hollywood invades China via ... Fresno?
Here’s one for the pessimists to keep in mind: Life is full of surprises. One day you’re thinking about starting a T-shirt line — just a couple of graphics tees based on iconic Hollywood stuff, the hotels, diners and clubs that inspired you, back when you were in the scene. There’s one for Pinks Hot Dogs and another one with Angelyne that encourages its wearers to “Treat Yourself to a Hollywood Billboard.” For people who know Los Angeles, that’s funny. Years later, you finally get around to putting the line together and show the shirts to your friends, who apparently like them enough to show to their friends, who in turn show them to other friends.
“And suddenly, you get a phone call that these people are interested in showing your stuff,” says Michael-Blu De Francesco, who along with friend Seth Lewis, owns Dom Blu Hollywood in the Fig Garden Village.
Four weeks later that T-shirt line is now a full-on clothing line — Blu/Seth Farms — and you’re being flown to China, yes, CHINA, so it can debut during fashion week.
So, yeah, “anything is possible,” says De Francesco.
The pair spent 12 days in China, getting the full-on all-expense-paid rock-star treatment, which concluded with them strolling down the catwalk, eyes wide with awe. In the front row were a dozen or so government officials, De Francesco says. It was that kind of event. The pair are now in talks to partner with the Chinese to open a boutique in China’s Fashion City — a multi-level retail space that will include an entire floor dedicated to California designers.
The line is easy, beachy lounge wear heavy on print and graphic tees with the Blu-Seth Farm logo — an old farm-style windmill — and one of three mantras like “Dream big, you only live once.”
The Chinese loved the line because they love all things all things Hollywood, and De Francesco and Lewis are, at heart, a couple of Hollywood guys who opened shop in Fresno.
In fact, the boutique is their little slice of LA. It’s single window is covered with a picture of the LA skyline at night. The table lamps hanging upside down from the ceiling is an idea they got from one of their favorite restaurants, a place De Francesco describes as swanky.
“When you are there, you become a part of it,” Lewis says about his affinity for the city.
And while the pair is kicking around ideas for a second line, the focus is still on the retail. “The goal of the store is to open more stores,” De Francesco says.
So, they recently shot a commercial, revamped the store’s logo and website and streamlined the shop to focus on what they do well — high-class, top brands. This isn’t a box store. The selection is small, but well chosen and exclusive, with lines like Johnson Motors Inc. and Gypsy 05. You’ll only find one brand of jeans — Stitch’s — but you won’t be able to find them anywhere else in town. And, of course, it will carry Blu/Seth Farms. The pair will debut its line at the store during a launch party July 22.